Jamaica falls in world trade ranking

STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 04, 2014

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JAMAICA fell one spot to 80 among 138 nations in the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) trade ranking.

The worsened position reflected in the just-released Global Enabling Trade 2014 report counters reported improvements shown in a separate World Bank global report.

Singapore led the world while the Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic, at 79, surpassed Jamaica in the 2014 study. It's the first time that Dominican Republic outscored Jamaica.

Last month, the World Bank released its 'Connecting to Compete 2014 — Trade Logistics in the Global Economy', which ranked the island 70 among 160 nations. That report indicated that the island improved among the best in the world.

It's rare for the indebted and corruption-riddled economy to score improvements in global reports.

The Europe-based think tank, WEF, acknowledged Jamaica's improvement in the World Bank logistics report but cited other criteria for the island's decline.

"...All Latin American and Caribbean countries have improved their LPI scores although for most countries the pace of improvement was not sufficient to result in improvement in rankings. Exceptions include Jamaica, which has improved the most in the region, moving up 48 places in the world rankings to 70th position," stated the WEF report about the World Bank index. "The story of logistics in Latin America and the Caribbean is nuanced and regional comparative assessments are inconclusive, based on the assessment through the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index (LPI)."

The WEF ranked the island based on its standing in the four subindexes, including market access at 58th, border 76th, infrastructure 75th, and operating envrionment at 92nd. The most problematic area of operating environment related to the homicide rate and cost of crime to business at 134th and 135th, respectively.

The island offered a competitive advantage in the area of air and sea transport infrastructure, the report indicated. The report comes as the Government aims to attract investors to construct a multibillion-dollar logistics hub.

WEF acknowledged the World Bank as its partner in the report's data along with the International Trade Centre, the Global Express Association, the World Trade Organisation, and UNCTAD. The WEF report also included its own indicators, interpretations and data sets which influence the ranking. For instance, it includes its Executive Opinion Survey (EOS), an annual survey on the business environment.

The Global Enabling Trade Report (GETR) series has been published by the WEF since 2008, initially on an annual basis, and biennially since 2010. From the beginning, the assessment has been based on the Enabling Trade Index (ETI).

"The index was developed within the context of the World Economic Forum's Enabling Trade programme, with the help of leading academia and partner organisations and companies," stated the report.

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